• Sort All Books
  • Information

The Comedia of Virginity
Mary and the Politics of Seventeenth-Century Spanish Theater

By Mirzam C. Pérez

The <em>Comedia</em> of Virginity
Hardback, 168 pages $29.95
Published: 15th October 2012
ISBN: 9781602586451
Format: 9in x 6in


Few characters were as ubiquitous in the collective consciousness of early modern Spain as the Virgin Mary. By the 1600s, the cult of the Immaculate Conception had become so popularized that the Hapsburg monarchy issued a decree in defense of the Virgin's purity. In a climate of political disharmony, however, this revered icon—often pictured as the passive, chaste, and pious mother of God—would become an archetype of paradox within the Spanish imagination.

In The Comedia of Virginity, Mirzam Pérez underscores how the character of the Virgin Mary was represented on the theater stage. Following a concise account of the historical, academic, and political forces operating within Hapsburg Spain, Pérez dissects three comedias—three-act productions featuring both drama and comedy—and draws out their multivalent interpretations of Mary. In their own ways, these secular comedias reproduced an uncommonly empowering feminine vision while making light of the Virgin's purity. The Mary of the stage was an active, sinuous, even sensual force whom playwrights would ultimately use to support a fracturing monarchy.


1. The Politics of Theater at the University of Salamanca
2. Performing Faith at the University of Salamanca: Lope de Vega's La limpieza no manchada
3. Mapping Faith at the University of Salamanca
4. Angela de Azevedo's Dicha y desdicha del juego y devoción de la Virgen: Writing for the Queen of the Earth
5. Spanish Mother to an American Daughter: The Virgin Mary in Moreto's Santa Rosa de Peru


"... interesting and informative."

—Christopher D. Gascón, SUNY College at Cortland, Renaissance Quarterly (66:3)

"Through her examination of these three seventeenth-century plays about the Virgin Mary, Peréz deftly illustrates contemporary arguments about religious doctrine, female leadership, and the challenge of maintaining an overseas empire. With all three comedias, Pérez extends her analysis far beyond the plays to cast light on the workings of gender, religious iconography, and political authority in Hapsburg Spain."

—Jodi Campbell, Associate Professor of History, Texas Christian University, and author of Monarchy, Political Culture, and Drama in Seventeenth-Century Madrid: Theater of Negotiation

"...Pérez’s book is consistently engaging and enjoyable. It will be useful for readers interested in the three plays it analyses and it should prove informative for those keen to understand something of the religious culture of Golden-Age Spain..."

—Roy Norton, Christ Church, Oxford, Bulletin of Spanish Studies

Mirzam C. Pérez is Assistant Professor of Early Modern Spanish Literature at Grinnell College, where her research interests include Spanish drama, visual culture, transatlantic studies, and art. She lives in Grinnell, Iowa.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 168 pages
 9in x 6in
5 b/w maps

  HIS037040, HIS045000, LIT004280, PER011020
 Baylor University Press

Other visitors also viewed:

The Gospel According to Luke Rhetoric at the Boundaries What's in the Word Reclaiming Joy Helen Barrett Montgomery